I edited an image this week of my friend Lima. The image was captivating: Stunning, bright shining window light fell onto one side of her body and gradually spread across her body as it plunged into deep shadows on the opposite side. There was huge contrast from the drastic light difference on either side of her. Her gaze was right into my camera with shoulders back and hands unseen but crossed in front of her.
I took that photo over the past summer and I had used Lightroom to convert it into black and white. However, up to the present I brought it back into color and challenged myself to use the techniques I am learning in my Fine Print Workflow course to make this image look well.
While the lighting in the image I described was amazing, the colors were looking awful. The room is painted a shade of blue, the bright daylight, which is naturally a blue color temperature, was washing out the tanned color of her skin, but the shadows were so deep it was rendering her skin color a super saturated orange-yellow. Most of all the points on her body which the shadow and highlight met were so bad and looked as if I did an awful Photoshop affect.
After spending over an hour on the image, I began to get frustrated and dislike the image. I stepped away for a bit and felt something inside me tell me that this image is most powerful in black and white. I can’t really explain it, but as soon as I sat back down and started to use a Black and White adjustment layer in Photoshop, my heart jumped in happiness. After tonal adjustments to my aesthetic choice, I was so excited to print my image for critique.
Lesson of the day: follow your gut. Give other options a try, but if it ain’t resonating with you, then let it go and follow your gut. I tried to work on the image in color, but deep down I knew it was most impactful in black and white.
So, for educational purposes, while it feels vulnerable and wrong, I am placing both my mistake and my success of my photograph of Lima.
© Mariah Texidor
Don’t give up!